News Releases 2008

LETU to Host Conference on Banking Crisis

Thu, Oct 16 2008

LeTourneau University is hosting a day-long conference from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, Nov. 14 on the crises in credit and banking, in light of recent financial institution bail-outs. Keynote speaker Terry Smith, Ph.D., is the president of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas who will share the perspective of the Federal Home Loan Bank on the issue of the current financial crisis.
Other conference speakers will discuss the roots of the current financial crisis, the effects of the crisis on banks in the local East Texas region, the credit impact of the financial market crisis on investors and will provide informed advice for people who are concerned about their retirement accounts, according to LETU economics professor and conference organizer Juan Castro, Ph.D.
The conference begins at 8:30 a.m. in Room 120 of the Education Building on the university’s main campus, 2100 S. Mobberly Ave. in Longview. Cost is $50 per person, with lunch included. Student admission is $30. Registration is available online at www.letu.edu/banking or by calling Emily Walton at (903) 233-4090. Deadline for registration is Nov. 11.
“People need to learn about the current financial crisis and find answers to their potential present and future financial problems,” Castro said. “Americans have lost as much as $2 trillion in the past 15 months from their retirement plans. Nearly 1.3 million housing properties across the nation were subject to foreclosure last year. The subprime mortgage crisis is an ongoing economic problem affecting the entire economy. Loan defaults and foreclosures have increased dramatically.
“People are concerned about their bank deposits, credit to get loans and the price of their mortgages,” Castro said. “At the same time, large investment companies that purchased these securitized bad loans have been affected, and these investment banks also hold many retirement plans and mutual funds, affecting the retirement portfolio of millions of people. Everybody is being affected by these crises and anyone concerned about their personal finances should attend this conference.”
A roundtable of speakers will include local bankers Charles M. Ireland, market president of Chase Bank; Kelly Stretcher, president of First National Bank of Gilmer; Mike Fitzhugh, market president of Franklin Bank; Brad Tidwell, president and CEO of Citizens National Bank; and Steve Reese, president of Community Bank of Longview.  
Scholars presenting their research at the conference include LETU economics professor John Feezell, finance professors Juan Castro and Bob Driver, management professor David Strong, marketing professor Warren Matthews and Shane Sherwood, certified financial planner with CRPC.
The schedule is as follows:
Registration from 8:30-9 a.m.(registration is open all day during the conference)
In the first session from 9 to 10:15 a.m., LETU finance students will explain the main causes of the current financial crisis with papers that explain what mortgage-backed securities and subprime loans are.
In the second session from 10:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., local and regional East Texas bank presidents will hold a roundtable discussion on how the national crisis is affecting them locally and will suggest possible solutions. Attendees may submit questions.
The third session will include a luncheon in the university’s Memorial Student Center with keynote speaker Terry Smith who will discuss the official position of the Federal Home Loan Bank.
In the final session, LETU business professors will join local financial experts to explain how retirement plans have been affected by the crisis.